Facebook plans to change its company name as soon as next week, according to a new report from the Verge. The name change is supposedly due to Facebook’s desire to be seen as more than a social media company, but we all know the real reason: The Facebook brand is absolutely toxic.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg could make an announcement about the name change at Facebook’s Connect conference on October 28, or it could be done sooner, according to the Verge. But Facebook is keeping tight lipped about any name changes that may or may not be over the horizon.
“We don’t comment on rumor or speculation,” Facebook spokesperson Joe Osborne told Gizmodo via email early Wednesday.
The Verge reports Facebook’s rebrand would only be for its parent company, much in the same way that Google rebranded to Alphabet, leaving Google still a product under the larger corporate umbrella. In this scenario, Facebook would presumably be demoted to the name of just one product among many that are owned by the company, including Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus.
From the Verge:
I’m told that the new Facebook company name is a closely-guarded secret within its walls and not known widely, even among its full senior leadership. A possible name could have something to do with Horizon, the name of the still-unreleased VR version of Facebook-meets-Roblox that the company has been developing for the past few years. The name of that app was recently tweaked to Horizon Worlds shortly after Facebook demoed a version for workplace collaboration called Horizon Workrooms.
Facebook’s brand image has struggled due to countless scandals over the past few years, including the Cambridge Analytica debacle in 2016, the election of neo-fascist Donald Trump to the presidency, the Capitol Insurrection on January 6, 2021, and the United Nations finding that Facebook contributed to genocide in Myanmar.
Most recently, a former Facebook employee-turned-whistleblower, Frances Haugen, testified to a U.S. Senate subcommittee earlier this month that what’s good for Facebook tends to be very bad for society.
If Facebook goes through with the name change, the social media giant will join other brands with toxic images that had to tweak their core offerings, like when the largest tobacco company on the planet, Philip Morris, changed its parent company name to Altria Group. Or when fried foods got a very unhealthy wrap in the 1990s and Kentucky Fried Chicken became KFC. Even Dunkin’ Donuts officially changed its name to just Dunkin’ in 2018 because it wanted to branch out and focus on food that’s a little bit healthier.
Will most consumers even notice if Facebook changes its name? Maybe not, among people who only use the Facebook social media platform. If you were trying to talk about Alphabet with an elderly relative would you bother using the name Alphabet or would you just call the entire company Google, like everyone else? That’s what we thought.